Daily Archives: May 22, 2009

Latest News

Pennsylvania says no to TVA coal ash storage

Coal ash that poured from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tennessee, Fossil Plant onto an east Tennessee community last December and recovered by cleanup crews is far too toxic to be stored in Pennsylvania’s coal mines, according to officials in that state. Authorities issued a statement saying it has strict regulations for the material to be stored there. Coal ash contains dangerous toxins such as arsenic, barium, chromium and manganese, which have been associated with serious health concerns such as cancer, liver damage and neurological complications. “I don’t know what Tennessee law is, but under Pennsylvania law it would ... Read More

Medtronic informs doctors of faulty pacemakers; Letter to patients to follow

Medical device maker Medtronic sent a letter to doctors worldwide earlier this month warning that nearly 37,000 of its Sigma and Kappa pacemakers, most manufactured between November 2000 and November 2002, could have faulty wiring that can cause the pacemakers to work improperly or not at all. This defect can be deadly for the estimated 1.7 million people who have pacemakers implanted in their chests. The defect involves a separation of wires that connect to the electronic circuit to the pacemaker components. Patients with the defective devices reported feeling faint or lightheaded. Medtronic has received two reports of patient deaths ... Read More

Clinical trial underway for metoclopramide nasal spray

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. has just released the study results of its Phase II clinical trial on a metoclopramide nasal spray for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis, a condition in which contents remain in the stomach for a longer period of time than normal. Left untreated, gastroparesis can lead to fluctuations in blood glucose, general malnutrition, intestinal obstruction and bacterial infection. Diabetes is just one of the known causes of gastroparesis. The condition is generally treated through dietary changes and medications including metoclopramide, which is commonly found under the brand names Reglan, Maxolon or Clopra and is traditionally available in the ... Read More

FDA clears Baxter in deaths following heparin injections

Baxter Healthcare Corp. has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the deaths of two patients at a Delaware hospital following an injection of the drug maker’s blood thinner heparin. The FDA attributed the two deaths, and the illness of a third patent, to existing medical conditions. All three patients suffered intercranial bleeding following injections of heparin. Announcement of the deaths and illness at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Delaware, raised immediate concern at the hospital, which promptly notified the FDA and Baxter. The incidents were far too similar to the 2007 heparin scandal in which more ... Read More

Floridians press Congress for help with Chinese drywall problem

For thousands of Florida homeowners, the Chinese drywall catastrophe couldn’t have hit at a worse time. A contracting economy and a worse-than-stale housing market have already caused home values to plummet. Add to that the likelihood that one’s house might have to be completely gutted before it’s once again safe to live in, and the picture is bleak indeed. The drywall problem began when the building boom and Hurricane Katrina created a shortage in some building materials, which led some building supply distributors to import several millions of tons of drywall from China. The drywall contains extremely high amounts of ... Read More

Family’s water contaminated by leaking gas station tanks

A leaking underground storage tank on the premises of an old, defunct gas station in Keswick, Virginia, demonstrates how destructive a seemingly innocuous fuel tank leak can be. A report by Charlottesville News & Arts tells the story of David and Holli Traud, who bought a brand-new home just east of Charlottesville last year. However, when they moved in, they noticed that the tap water in their new home had a strange smell and bad taste. At first the Trauds assumed the water’s bad odor and taste came from being unused, so they gave it the benefit of the doubt ... Read More

Chinese drywall problem more widespread than originally thought

If it’s not lead in paint or melamine in dog food, then perhaps it’s poisonous drywall? The latest batch of toxic Chinese imports – some 550 million pounds of highly sulfuric drywall – has found its way into homes throughout the U.S. and even Canada. The cheap Chinese drywall flooded into the U.S. during the building boom, beginning in 2004, and peaked as the bustling economy and Hurricane Katrina put a strain on domestically manufactured drywall. Most of the affected homes appear to be in Florida, but newly constructed homes in several states and beyond are also affected. When we ... Read More